George Harrison Interview: Hare Krishna Mantra–There’s Nothing Higher (1982)

George Harrison at peace

George Harrison Interview: Hare Krishna Mantra–There’s Nothing Higher (1982)
This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series The Beatles and Hare Krishna

George: It’s really the same sort of thing as meditation, but I think it has a quicker effect. I mean, even if you put your beads down, you can still say the mantra or sing it without actually keeping track on your beads. One of the main differences between silent meditation and chanting is that silent meditation is rather dependent on concentration, but when you chant, it’s more of a direct connection with God.

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George Harrison Interview 1982

George-Harrison-and-Srila-Prabhupada

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In the following conversation, taped at George’s home in England on September 4, 1982, George reveals some memorable experiences he has had chanting Hare Krishna and describes in detail his deep personal realizations about the chanting. He reveals what factors led him to produce “The Hare Krishna Mantra” record, “My Sweet Lord,” and the LPs All Things Must Pass and Living in the Material World, which were all influenced to a great extent by the Hare Krishna chanting and philosophy. He speaks lovingly and openly about his association with His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya (spiritual master) of the Hare Krishna movement. In the following interview George speaks frankly about his personal philosophy regarding the Hare Krishna movement, music, yoga, reincarnation, karma, the soul, God, and Christianity. The conversation concludes with his fond remembrances of a visit to the birthplace of Lord Krishna in Vrndavana, India, home of the Hare Krishna mantra, and with George discussing some of his celebrity friends’ involvement with the mantra now heard and chanted around the world.

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The Gopīs’ Feelings of Separation

Gopis feelings of Separation

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We were discussing the other night with some friends, that the mood of Lord Caitanya was love in separation, and that this should also be our mood as devotees. George Harrison understood this mood, and in his song “My Sweet Lord” we find in his lyrics:

My sweet Lord
Hmm, my Lord
Hmm, my Lord
I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you, Lord, but it takes so long, my Lord …

I really want to know you
Really want to go with you
Really want to show you, Lord, that it won’t take long, my Lord …

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Srila Prabhupada has described this very nicely throughout all his writings, and in the Caitanya-caritmrta we find:

“O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from My eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.” This is the perfectional stage of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and eating the fruit of love of Godhead, as exhibited by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One should not artificially imitate this stage, but if one is serious and sincerely follows the regulative principles and chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the time will come when these symptoms will appear. Tears will fill his eyes, he will be unable to chant distinctly the mahā-mantra, and his heart will throb in ecstasy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that one should not imitate this, but a devotee should long for the day to come when such symptoms of trance will automatically appear in his body. (Purport Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 9.51)

This is all but and introduction to one of the very best, sweetest, chapters in the KRSNA Book “The Gopīs’ Feelings of Separation” which we have posted here in its entirety.

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Letter from Srila Prabhupada

Los Angeles
14 May, 1970
70-05-14
c/o George Harrison
Oxfordshire, England

My Dear Syamasundara

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 7th May, 1970, written on Hare Krishna stationery of George Harrison. My hearty thanks are to George Harrison because now he is chanting Hare Krishna so enthusiastically. May Krishna bless him more and more, and he may advance in Krishna consciousness.

So as suggested by you I am deleting the words “of the famous Beatles”, and simply putting his name and his present transcendental change by chanting Hare Krishna. In the Preface the one paragraph is being replaced by the following words, suggested by him.

“If there is a God, I want to see Him. It’s pointless to believe in something without proof, and Krishna Consciousness and meditation are methods where one can actually obtain ‘God perception.’ You can actually see God, and hear Him, play with Him. And He is actually there, actually with you.”

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Forever Grateful to Srila Prabhupada


Forever Grateful to Srila Prabhupada
By Sriman Padmapani Prabhu

Thinking back to the late sixties and early seventies, I fondly remember how the Hare Krsna mantra had already infiltrated contemporary culture due to Srila Prabhupada’s extraordinary efforts to spread the holy names throughout the world. A number of famous musicians and artists had begun to discover the chanting and were promoting it in their records and books.

For example, the Broadway musical “Hair” was a big hit and the accompanying record — which included the chanting of Hare Krsna — became a popular staple on the radio. George Harrison recorded the song “My Sweet Lord” with the melodious chanting of Krsna’s names in the background, and prior to that, the words “Hare Krsna” could be found on one of the Beatles’ albums. Poet Allen Ginsberg, a self-styled leader of the new counterculture, had visited India and picked up the mantra there. He subsequently wrote about the chanting in at least one or more of his poetry books. After meeting Prabhupada at 26 Second Avenue in the Lower East Side of New York, Ginsberg increased his dedication to the holy names and often chanted them during “be-ins” and poetry readings. When John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous “bed-in” at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in 1969, the devotees were there singing Hare Krsna during the recording of “Give Peace a Chance.” The “Radha Krsna Temple” album produced by George Harrison in 1970 in co-operation with the London devotees could be found in record stores throughout Europe and North America. Such was the widespread influence of Srila Prabhupada’s dynamic preaching efforts even though he had only been in the western world for a short period of time. Srila Prabhupada was already expertly fulfilling the order of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaj.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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A Short Statement of the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

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July 9th Letter

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

Reference Material/Study Guide

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